Apparently the way to get people to read magazines, and advertisers to pay you enough money to support your fancy editorial aims, is to lock them in planes where there are fewer distractions.

The Wall Street Journal reports that in-flight magazines are still profitable. A British company, Ink Publishing, now runs 40 airline mags in 17 countries, made $4m last year doing it and are on target to make a similar amount this year while everyone else tanks. The reasons are pretty straightforward:

You have very few places with such a captive audience," says Tony Cervone, chief communications officer at United Airlines. Even with seat-back entertainment and wireless Internet service becoming standard, he says, passengers must unplug during take-off and landing.

Advertisers like that and pay lots of money because they feel strongly that if people see Keira Knightley or Mikhail Gorbachev wielding their products in a nice magazine picture we'll all go and buy stuff.